Clowns, Cats, and Grandma: The Five Scariest Adult Swim Bumpers


As you may have figured out by now, I am obsessed with television. I am also a night owl (“Sleep is for pussies”), so I tend to watch a lot of Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. For those who go to bed at a sensible hour, Adult Swim is the block of animation (generally running from 10pm to 5am) that is decidedly not for children. It is stuff like Family Guy, Robot Chicken, and Metalocalypse, plus anime on the weekends. The animation that airs during this time is often subversive (or at the very least, crass) but more fascinating than the programming are the bumpers. Bumpers are the station ID clips that roll between shows, often just 15 seconds or so. I have to say, most of these bumpers scare the hell out of me. With some, obvious motifs are clearly meant to scare (i.e. clowns and hands reaching from computer screens). But with others, it is the sheer bizarreness that chills me. Below, I have highlighted some of my “favorites.”

Clown Kids

Clowns. Kids. Bizarrely misshapen puppets of popular Adult Swim cartoons. Eerie chime music. These always give me the chills.

Grandma and the Computer

A hand coming out from a computer is scary enough; a Blue Screen of Death is even worse. But the Blue Hand of Computer Death dating grandma? What the hell is wrong with people? This is a compilation of granny bumps. Check out the one around the 50 second mark - that one terrifies me.

Meow Meow: Dancing with Mask

This is how snuff films start out.

Corporate Kitty

Animals in human clothes always make me feel weird, but what is even scarier about this bump is creepy, fake, plastic smiles on all those people standing with that smug cat. I think the cat is their evil overlord, who tries to “look cool” but once the cameras are off, he will beat that cult of humans with a sack of oranges.

Haiku Man

There is so much going on here: a funeral dirge. Makeup that looks like a clown painted up Boy George. Weird, warping camera effects. And the dude eating a paintbrush. I think that is the part that upsets me the most.